We’ve never done this before, but a lot of SB Nation sites do, so why not.
This is not necessarily a “best of” 2021, but it is, per Google, the most-read SSS stories of 2021.
In a testament to the talent and diversity we have on staff here, the Top 13 most-read stories of 2021 are by different writers. Pretty cool, huh? I imagine that’s exactly the goal Brett had in opening up the masthead here beyond just one voice.
So, sure, it was a pretty unlucky year for the White Sox, so a Top 13 is the list we’ll run with here. I added some personal favorites at the very end, for further hangover reading.
Top 13 Most-Read Stories on SSS, 2021
The Last Straw for White Sox Manager Tony La Russa
The experiment has failed, so it’s time for him to fade back into the shadows of baseball past
This Anders Johansen piece in the aftermath of the Yermín debacle was our top-read story of the year. Moreover, in what is almost certainly an unprecedented development in SSS history, it was the top-read story for ALL of SB Nation baseball that week.
Reds 1, White Sox 0 (10 innings): A Duel in Cincy Leads to a Lesson Learned
Keuchel was fantastic in the loss, La Russa gets schooled about an extra-innings rule
So, the TWO top stories centered around Tony La Russa screwing something up. Bill Meincke had the top-read game story of the year.
White Sox Trade Options at Catcher following Yasmani Grandal injury
With their starter going down for at least the next month with a knee injury, the South Siders could use a short-term replacement
New to the team, Jason Kinander has proven a master of the big-numbers, point-and-shoot feature, and this one proved very popular. Too bad the White Sox did not follow any of his suggestions.
Liam Hendriks, Come on Down to the South Side and the White Sox!
The fireballer soon may shift from the Southern Hemisphere to the South Side, to join the White Sox
Our oldest story in the mix here, James Fox usually brings the numbers. Remember, we published this about a WEEK before the deal was announced. James had the scoop BEFORE the supposed “mystery team” forced the White Sox to up their offer with that bizarre, fourth-year option.
The Most Unexciting, Yet Useful Potential White Sox Trade Deadline Haul
Let’s not get our hopes up too much this week, or we can at least become pleasantly surprised — three trades for the realist White Sox fan
Luke Smailes produced strong writing and podcasts all year, and this one was his most popular. And the White Sox listened, trading for Luke’s pet pen guy, Ryan Tepera!
White Sox 2021 Spring Training Broadcast Schedule Announced
Club features 15 TV/web broadcasts, 10 on radio
I get stuck with a lot of the nuts and bolts posts. At least some of them draw eyes.
Houston Astros Defeat Chicago White Sox 10-1 to Clinch ALDS
Houston advances to its fifth consecutive ALCS, which is hard to write when all that banging is going on
Site everyman Joe Resis pens the saddest story among our top reads.
Just Announced! Chicago White Sox Walk-Up Songs for 2021
In a season where more attention than usual will be paid the South Siders, the offense will have to be kept humming
Will Allen delivered a lot of funny features and podcasting this year, but his take on new White So walk-up songs proved most popular.
Things White Sox Pitcher Lance Lynn Says After a Strikeout, from a Certified Lip Reader
Cues on environmentalism, injury and the culinary arts lie within
No telling how many folks clicked on this not recognizing the absurdist author, but Di Billick had a lot of fun with a lot of readers on her Tonka Truck exposé.
Chicago White Sox Tab Colson Montgomery as Their First-Rounder
Indiana prep is the club’s first high school top pick since 2012
Cherry-picking Brett Ballantini cracks the Top 10.
The Chicago White Sox System: All That Remains
A post-deadline look at the state of the farm
Trooper Galactus indicated he hoped he’d crack the Top 50 stories, but hey, the old-new guy comes in at No. 11.
In Ingenious PR Stunt, MLB Distracts from Trevor Bauer Investigation with Talks to Partner with Barstool
Unfortunately, this is not satire
Although this was written anonymously as “staff” (for reasons obvious, and if you don’t grasp them you are being rather obtuse), this writer is responsible for our No. 12 piece. It may have been our most important article published this year.
Cuba’s Oscar Colás, Now a White Sox, Is Heading to the South Side
Plum two-way Cuban prospect will be the White Sox international signing centerpiece in January 2022
Trevor Lines gets to cherry-pick a bit here, but everything came together nicely on this, as Brett and Luke also did a Dugout Metrics podcast with Trevor to coincide with this piece.
Personal Favorites From 2021
Chicago White Sox Need to Make a Decision on the Struggling Yermín Mercedes
The Yerminator’s numbers have been trending downward since the end of April, making him a liability in the lineup
Jeremy Karll did a ton of heavy lifting for us early in the season, at the same time just getting his SSS legs under him. This was a nice piece that took an even-handed look at the Yermín dilemma. See also Jeremy’s reasonable day-after piece during the ALDS, supporting the White Sox and their bright future even in the face of postseason disappointment.
Bullpen Defends: Chicago White Sox, Yoán Win Squeaker, 5-4
Nine different voices all add up to victory, in a unique "bullpenning" night at South Side Sox
Maybe readers don’t like these as much as us staff members do, but Brett Ballantini assuming the voices of nine different SSS writers (11 total, including the gamethread) was an instant classic. Can’t wait for him to do a doubleheader of 18 voices in 2022.
A Visit from St. Jer, Alas (Merry Christmas from South Side Sox!)
With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.
Acerbic yet honest, this very recent piece of holiday “cheer” is the latest in Leigh Allan’s Christmas work for SSS.
Cease’s Start: The Wheels Came Off, the Car Careened Into a Ditch, and Burst Into Flames - South Side Sox
The White Sox battle back after Dylan’s dud, retake the lead, then lose to the Red Sox in extras
Jacki Krestel really impressed the brain trust (is that what you still want to call our pairing, Brett?) this year, joining us late but bringing some real zeal and personality to her few recaps. There is a bit of Lurker Laura vibe there, and that’s a good thing. For the brilliant recap headline alone, I’ll say this is Jacki’s best.
Who is White Sox utility man Leury García, and how did he survive to ever see Chicago?
You’ve heard of #LeuryLegend, but have you heard the Legend of Leury?
At the same time Jacki joined us, the force of nature who is Celeste Spaghett1 arrived on the scene. She did a cornucopia of wonderful work for us, but this Leury bio took the cake — the whole dessert table, even.
Head-2-Head: 2021 White Sox/Cubs Edition
Who has the edge at each position — the Squad from the South Side or the Nonuplet of the North? This definitive, unbiased guide settles the score once and for all
Will Allen’s walk-up music piece was more popular, but this was better. The joke becomes obvious early enough in his position-by-position comp of crosstown rivals, but it didn’t stop me from laughing harder as the story went on.
Chicago White Sox Fall to the Chicago Cubs, but Life is Meaningless
We have the Crosstown Cup in our hands, and you can’t take it away from us
Seriously, the White Sox actually lost once to the lowly Cubs this season. Di Billick writes as a damn funny everyfan for this recap.
Baseball Hall of Fame Shutout Shouts Out a Need for a Refined Voting Process
The mixed interpretations of loosely-defined rules leaves everyone unsatisfied
Keelin Billue often expresses her kooky side here, but this piece examining the weaknesses in the Hall of Fame process was seriously spot-on.
The White Sox Season Is 5% Over. Let’s overreact!
Which of our early takes will hold up?
Lurker Laura only wrote a couple of times for us this year. Like we’re not gonna highlight her best nonetheless.
Chicago White “Sox in Five”
Even years from now, fans will whisper the phrase that filled us with a fateful hope.
We know Mitch Ransdell for his brilliant Sox Sketcher work, essays/art highlighting our Player of the Week. And really, I should have picked one of those, but how do you choose among dozens of wonderfully written and illustrated works? So I chose Mitch’s cool, optimistic ... mystic, even ... playoff reaction spot-piece for us.
2021 White Sox: Resiliency Lands Them at Best Record
Our favorite ball club is reflecting the strength of its fans over the past year
Nello Rubio really captured the spirit of this budding team early in the year.
White Sox Luis Robert’s Marvelous Trajectory
Approaching his 2020 game totals for a direct comp, La Pantera has taken steps forward in nearly every way
Tim Ryder gave us some terrific late-season analysis, all really good and quick-hitting.
Rick Hahn’s White Sox Fashion Drag Race: Getaway Day
The runway theme? Yoán Moncada realness
We love the outrageous, funny and apt here — and Janice Scurio and Chrystal O’Keefe nailed that vibe better than anyone here this year, with this terrific spot-fashion feature.
Gavin Sheets’ *Other* Dad: The José Abreu Effect
Pito mentors everyone, but the resemblance to him Gavin Sheets has taken is nothing short of remarkable.
Adrian Serrano was yet another late add to the team this year, and he came through with some terrific work, be it with design, avant-garde, podcast, or journal. He had some great insight in his observations of Gavin and José on this one.
Is White Sox pitcher Craig Kimbrel Being Overused?
Kimbrel has been at his best when well-rested this season. Why is he pitching on three consecutive days?
In a year that saw some EXTREMELY STRONG analysis at SSS from at least a half-dozen writers, this piece was probably my favorite. It talks fans off the ledge on Kimbrel, while perhaps pushing them onto it with La Russa/Katz.
Yankees Will Fun Seven Times. Yankees Will Run Seven Times
It was a baseball game and Chicagos lost the baseball game
Picking a favorite Robby the Recapper recap has found to be humanly impossible. Even artificial intelligence cannot manage the task. So, here’s Robby’s first spontaneous automated vagarity for SSS in 2021.
Flashback: The Roaring Silence of White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito’s 2020 No-Hitter
Or: The time Janice and I covered Lucas Giolito’s 2020 no-hitter
This is Sam Sherman’s sweet reminiscence of a no-hitter, a year on.
White Sox Yermín Mercedes Is Breaking Tony La Russa’s Unwritten Rules ... Again
If they’re so important, write them down
Sassmaster Colleen Sullivan is usually sharpening her tongue for Know Your Enemy, but the Yermín Mercedes mess was so sloppy, she stepped out on Tony and the Old School.